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Founding SinsHow a Group of Antislavery Radicals Fought to Put Christ into the Constitution$
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Joseph S. Moore

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190269241

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190269241.001.0001

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The Failure to Found a Christian Nation

The Failure to Found a Christian Nation

Chapter:
(p.36) 2 The Failure to Found a Christian Nation
Source:
Founding Sins
Author(s):

Joseph S. Moore

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190269241.003.0003

Covenanters tried but failed to convince Americans to found a Christian nation. Along the way they managed to confront and offend some of the most prominent Founders. Roger Williams first articulated a doctrine of separation of church and state in reaction to their Solemn League and Covenant. Revival preachers such as Gilbert Tennent warned Christians to avoid their political heresies. Benjamin Franklin profited from, George Washington sued, Thomas Jefferson reviled, and John Adams blamed his presidential loss on the Covenanters. Meanwhile, they found their way into every major revolt. American Covenanters were God’s rebels—just as likely to be Patriots fighting Britain as they were to be Paxton Boys fighting Pennsylvania, Green Mountain Boys fighting New York, and Whiskey Rebels fighting the federal government. In many ways, the Covenanters were the most important religious sect in American history. They put the limits of Christian nationalism on display in early America.

Keywords:   Roger Williams, Gilbert Tennent, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Whiskey Rebellion, separation of church and state

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